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Straw: Iran Nuclear Agreement a Milestone in Iran-EU relations

London, Nov 16, IRNA -- British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said on Monday that the agreement reached between Iran and EU on nuclear and technological cooperation was a milestone in relations between Iran and Europe.

We believe that the conclusion of this agreement can both allow for confidence-building in respect of Iran's nuclear programme and represent a significant development in relations between Europe and Iran, Jack Straw was quoted as saying in a press release by British Foreign office.

He said that the European Troika, composed of the UK, France, Germany, and the EU High Representative would commence negotiations with Iran on the first of December to address a number of issues including political and security issues, technological cooperation, and nuclear issues.

There will be twin objectives for this process: To give us long-term objective guarantees that Iran's nuclear programme is purely for peaceful purposes; and to make progress on in a range of economic, technical and security issues, he said.

Iran, European Troika and EU on Monday reached an agreement that many observers here believe will end the stalemate over Iran's nuclear programme.

Iran has consistently stated that all its nuclear facilities aim at peaceful utilization of the nuclear energy, while Washington and Tel Aviv have accused Tehran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

The agreement, which came into force today, stipulates that the European Troika and EU recognize Iran's rights under the NPT exercised in conformity with its obligations under the Treaty, without discrimination.

Moreover, the European side has agreed that the agreement is not a legally binding agreement for Iran.

According to the agreement, the European side recognizes that this suspension is a voluntary confidence building measure and not a legal obligation.

Iran has, for its part, agreed that it will, on a voluntary basis, cease all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities. Iran will keep IAEA informed of this suspension.

The agreement also provides firm guarantees on nuclear, technological and economic cooperation and firm commitments on security issues.

In addition to the guarantees on economic cooperation, the European side has agreed to start negotiations on trade and cooperation agreement and fully back Iran's bid to become a member of World Trade Organization.

According to the agreement the European side is expected to actively support the opening of Iranian accession negotiations at the WTO.

The two sides have also confirmed their commitment to fight terrorism regardless of their progress on the nuclear issue.

The European side has received a commitment from Iran to fight Al-Qaeda terrorists and the Iranian side has received a commitment from the European side to fight the Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO), a terrorist group stationed in Iraq that has staged bloody operations inside Iranian territory.

The two sides have also confirmed their support for the political process in Iraq which, according to the agreement, "is aimed at establishing a constitutionally elected Government".

Rowhani: Unlimited suspension of enrichment out of question

Tehran, Nov 15, IRNA -- Secretary of Iran's National Security Council and top negotiator with the EU Big Three Hojatoleslam Hassan Rowhani gave a press conference here on Monday, answering questions by dozens of Iranian and foreign representatives.

CNN reporter asked Rowhani wether he thought the IAEA might still refer Iran's nuclear dossier to the UN Security Council.

Rowhani replied, "If you study the text of Tehran-EU agreement carefully you will realize that the EU is opposed to referring Iran's dossier to the Security Council. And as you know well, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) group at the IAEA, as well as Russia and China, too, are quite opposed to taking the issue to the UNSC."

He added, "The UN nuclear watchdog's board of governors has 35 members, 12 of whom are representatives from European countries, 12 from the NAM group, Brazil, Russia, China, and eight other countries' representatives, only three of whom are currently opposed to the Tehran-EU agreement, whose opposition naturally does not count."

Secretary of the National Security Council in response to another question on the level of Tehran-EU cooperation in Iran's nuclear projects, said, "There was a long list of the fields in which the Europeans are ready and willing to cooperate with Iran in EU Big Three's initial draft."

He added, "They include providing Iran with civilian airplanes, and boosting economic cooperation with Iran, while stressing that it is not logical to urge Iran to abandon usage of nuclear energy merely because it has huge oil and natural gas resources."

On the level of influence of such countries as Russia and China in recent talks on Iran's nuclear dossier, Rowhani said, "Ministers of foreign affairs of China and Russia both visited Tehran in recent months and held comprehensive talks with Iranian officials on the subject."

He added, "We hope the representatives of both those countries would participate in IAEA board of governors' November talks actively."

Rowhani said, "Tehran-EU nuclear agreement's significance for the Russians and the Chinese is due to the fact that after that those two countries, too, would feel quite free in their cooperation with us in various fields related to nuclear reactors."

Secretary of Iran's National Security Council emphasized,"Thus, the prevailing international atmosphere has paved the way for boosting Iran's ties with not only the EU, Russia, and China, but with the whole international community in nuclear-related activities."

Abu Dhabi TV reporter asked Rowhani about the possible relation among Iran's current talks with the EU with such issues as the human rights, the Middle East peace process, trade etc.

Rowhani answered, "The Middle East peace process has not been included in our talks with the Europeans, but the Tehran-EU dialogue on human rights issue is still going on." SIDELINES OF ROWHANI'S PRESS CONFERENCE

Secretary of National Security Council Hojatoleslam Hassan Rowhani was scheduled to attend the press conference at 2 pm, Monday afternoon, but was 75 minutes late and showed up at 3:30.

After entering the conference room, Rowhani said that the reason why he was late for the meeting was that he was busy talking on the phone with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw on the issue.

More than 100 Iranian and foreign reporters had attend Hassan Rowhani's press conference on Monday afternoon.

Secretary of National Security Council stayed at the conference room to answer further questioned posed by the press representatives after the press conference was over and answered dozens of their questions on the issue, as well as those on other subjects, such as Iran's upcoming presidential elections.

In response to several reporters' questions on probability of his running for presidential post, he said, "It is still too early to talk about that issue."

A reporter said that the former head of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Ali Larijani has said that you would not be a candidate for the post, asking him whether he confirmed the comment.

Rowhani replied, "You should ask Mr. Larijani about the authenticity of his comments."

In response to a reporter's question on his opinion about a group of MPs' proposal for passing a law to ban manufacturing of nuclear weapons in Iran, and its probable effect in Tehran-EU talks he said, "There is no meaningful relation between the two issues, and furthermore, such guarantees have still not been clearly defined in the talks."

Rowhani further stressed, "Iran is a member of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) whose Article 2 bans pursuing nuclear activities for military purposes."

He added, "When international treaties are ratified by the parliament they are turned into the country's laws, abiding by which is obligatory."

Secretary of the National Security Council said, "On guarantees we need to keep talking with the EU till reaching full agreement and a work group is already established for the purpose."

... Payvand News - 11/16/04 ... --

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